african art

Essay by natnatwing September 2014

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Modern European artists such as Picasso, Vlaminck and Modigliani were all influenced by African art


During the late 19th Century, French elite searched for riches and brought African art back to Paris. They colonized the west and the north coasts of Africa. It was known as "Scramble for Africa".


African art was only presented as curiosities or functional objects not works with aesthetic value. European scholars and artists were reluctant to accept the art of Africa to be "fine art" so was referred as "primitive art".


Matisse was seen as the leader of Parisian art, because of this, there was a rivalry between Matisse and Picasso.


Wanting to surpass Matisse, Picasso seeks new ways to try to surpass Matisse.


Matisse showed his purchase of Vili Figurine, which was the first African sculpture that Picasso has ever seen and he was extremely impressed by it.

Ironically, Matisse first introduced Picasso to African art however Picasso used concepts of African art to surpass Matisse.


The effect of African art was entirely different on the two artists. Matisse was his imagination more than his vision, and for Picasso vision more than imagination.


Henri Matisse was known as the master of colour, and he drew upon African art to untie bold colour and ceremonial patterns.


When the war broke out in 1914, he was already 45 and too old to fight. During the war, he took a trip to North Africa, Morocco. He was stimulated by the trip and his art grew amplitude and more abstract.


One of the famous artworks done by Matisse that was influenced African art was the Young Sailor.


The painted two versions of the Young Sailor and both were painted in 1906, but the first before African...